Washington Could Legalize 'Missing Middle' Housing Statewide

A proposed bill in the Washington state legislature that would legalize more multi-family housing in the state could add hundreds of thousands of units to the state's strained housing stock.

January 11, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Puget Sound

SEASTOCK / Shutterstock

A proposed bill in the Washington state legislature would open the door to more "missing middle housing" in the state, reports Dan Bertolet. "A new bill would not only help correct the historic injustice of zoning laws originally enacted to exclude Black families, but also would relieve the root cause of Washington’s housing crisis: a shortage of homes."

The law would lift local laws that ban multi-family buildings, legalizing denser housing based on its location, local population, and proximity to transit. Based on a California study, this could lead to the construction of more than 200,000 units in Washington. "For a second comparison, a recent University of Washington report estimated that legalizing fourplexes within a quarter-mile of transit stations would create capacity for nearly half a million more homes in the Puget Sound region, which is home to 4.3 million of the state’s 7.6 million residents."

The proposed bill would also limit parking requirements to reduce the cost of construction and encourage multi-modal transportation and transit use. Further, the bill attempts to prevent displacement by requiring citied to adhere to the anti-displacement standards enacted by the state in 2021.

According to the source article, linked below, Washington's proposed legislation differs in key ways from similar laws in California and Oregon, notably by permitting six-unit buildings near transit. While it excludes unincorporated areas and gives cities a minimum density alternative that could let some localities perpetuate exclusionary zoning, the bill has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new homes for Washingtonians.

Thursday, January 6, 2022 in Sightline

Stylized rendering of the Midwest Regional Rail Network

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes New Midwest Rail Network

If built, regional high-speed rail networks could provide an alternative to uncomfortable air travel and prevent travelers from becoming stranded at airports during extreme weather.

January 17, 2022 - The Urbanist

New York City Politicians wears a mask at a New York subway station during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Leadership at New York Department of City Planning

With a new mayoral administration comes new planning leadership in the Big Apple.

January 20, 2022 - New York City


'15-Minute City' To Be Built in Utah

A community that focuses on reducing the need for car ownership and providing effective multimodal transportation and diverse land uses will be built from scratch on the site of the decommissioned Utah State Prison.

January 19, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

Suburban Homes

Experts Express Pessimism Over Housing Costs

Although the current housing crisis has been compared with the housing crash of the late 2000s, experts caution that affordability issues could plague the U.S. housing market for years to come.

5 hours ago - The New York Times

online education

Annual Google Scholar Citation Data for Planning Faculty

Publish or perish?

6 hours ago - Tom Sanchez

Texas Apartment Construction

What the Microchip Shortage Reveals About Housing

The microchip shortage facing the automotive industry illustrates the significant impact that supply has on the cost of durable goods.

7 hours ago - Slowboring.com

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Case Study posted on HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.